What does Perichoresis mean?

The Christian understanding of beauty emerges not only naturally, but necessarily, from the Christian understanding of God as a perichoresis of love, dynamic coinherence of the three divine persons, whose life is eternally one of shared regard, delight, fellowship, feasting, and joy. David Bentley Hart from his book The Beauty of the Infinite

Perichoresis is a theological term that first appears in St. Gregory of Nazianzus (330-389) but was explored more by St. John of Damascus (675-749 St. John of Damascus’ Feast Day is today, December 4). It refers to the mutual inter-penetration and indwelling within the threefold nature of the Trinity; God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Perichoresis is the theological term explaining the intimacy and indwelling that the Father and the Son and the Spirit share together.

I and the Father are one. John 10:30

And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Mark 1:11

And the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. Luke 3:22.

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, are in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. John 17:21

The subsistences [i.e., the three Persons] dwell and are established firmly in one another. For they are inseparable and cannot part from one another, but keep to their separate courses within one another, without coalescing or mingling, but cleaving to each other. For the Son is in the Father and the Spirit: and the Spirit in the Father and the Son: and the Father in the Son and the Spirit, but there is no coalescence or commingling or confusion. And there is one and the same motion: for there is one impulse and one motion of the three subsistences, which is not to be observed in any created nature. St. John of Damascus Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 1.14


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